A Homecoming crowd of 1,748 couldn’t quite give the Gannon University football team the spark it needed to beat a tough No. 9 Bloomsburg team Saturday afternoon, and the Knights fell 38-14 in a contest dominated by penalties and Bloomsburg’s rushing game.
Altogether, Gannon and Bloomsburg shared 24 penalties for a total of 257 yards.
But those numbers were overshadowed by the numbers put up by Bloomsburg’s standout senior running back Franklin Quiteh.
Quiteh, who entered play as the NCAA Division II’s leading rusher with an average of 197 yards per game, rolled up 251 yards on 24 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Quiteh got off to a slow start, but turned it on late in the first half, and then piled up 164 yards in the second half alone.
Saturday marked the 10th time that Quiteh topped the 200-yard mark in his career. He also moved to ninth all-time in Division II history with 6,367 career rushing yards.
Meanwhile, Gannon running back Jansen Jones, who entered the game third in the nation in rushing with 657 yards in four games, found the going much tougher than Quiteh. Jones managed to pick up 69 yards rushing in 23 attempts – an average of just 3.0 yards per carry.
The Knights, who fell to 3-2 overall and remained 2-0 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division, hung tough with the ninth-ranked Huskies in the early going, as the game was scoreless after one quarter.
Bloomsburg would go on to take over the second quarter scoring 21 points mostly on the ground. The Huskies gained 139 rushing yards in the first half compared to Gannon’s 32. Gannon’s normally dominant rushing game appeared dormant.
Bloomsburg’s first score came on Tim Kelly’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Derek Burkhard, and Quiteh accounted for the next two scores on touchdown runs of 21 and 12 yards.
The Golden Knights started the second half off with a spark, marching down the field to score the first drive back on Jones’ 16-yard run, cutting Bloomsburg’s lead to 21-7.
After another impressive seven-play 54-yard drive by Gannon, Bloomsburg held the Knights at the goal line, and capitalized with a field goal at the other end to make it 24-7.
Bloomsburg was the next to score, expanding its lead to 31-7 on Kelly’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Allison. The play capped a drive that took 12 plays and covered 96 yards.
Each team would score one more time concluding the game at 38-14.
Jones, the Knights’ standout senior, said he thought the offense should have capitalized more on the stops the defense made.
“Our offense didn’t play the way we usually play…our defense held them but our offense didn’t come through,” said Jones, who was averaging 164.3 yards per game entering play last weekend.
Jones said he is hopeful that the Knights are going to regroup and be ready for the Saturday’s noon kickoff against Edinboro University at Gannon University Field.
The Fighting Scots are coming off a 31-6 win over Lock Haven last week and will bring an overall record of 3-2 and a 0-1 conference mark into Saturday’s game.
Edinboro has played the last several games without standout quarterback Cody Harris, who has been sidelined with an undisclosed injury.